fire engine and ambulance vehicle parked in garage

(Updated 2022) Many of us won’t have to ride in an ambulance, ever. Many of us will. We saw an interesting discussion about reimbursement and what an ambulance cost one family over in New Jersey, on the Maplewood Online message board.

How much does an emergency ride to the hospital cost? The answer’s complicated. The bill could be for $600, $2,500, $3,900, $3,267….

The payment, from the individual or the insurance company: $430, $600, $2,500, $1,372….

A 2022 report found that ambulance costs are going up every year, but that still doesn’t explain why patients don’t know how much they’ll be charged.

Sometimes the difference in ambulance cost appears to be whether it’s an ambulance or an emergency service, or just which emergency service. Also the payment: of course, who’s the insurance company and what’s their negotiated rate with that particular provider.

The biggest surprise was the person who wrote:

“About 4 years ago my younger son choked on an apple. I was able to Heimlich him but he still wasn’t breathing normally. Called the ambulance and the Maplewood squad showed up in minutes. 2 blocks before we got to St. B they pull over and another ambulance pulls up. They switch staff and tell me these new guys were better trained for pediatric emergencies. I didn’t understand why we stopped because we were almost at the hospital and all they did was give my boy oxygen while I held him.

“We eventually received 2 bills. MONOC’s was $2500. Local was maybe $250. I made a lot of phone calls. There is some sort of law that required MONOC to respond but I can’t remember the details but I fought it.”

For further reading, here’s an article about ambulance costs being the largest source of unexpected medical bills, and here’s one about air ambulance costs.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...